Dixie Darr

In creativity, Learning, Learning Tools on February 10, 2009 at 4:33 pm

Priced out of the Education Market?

Are colleges pricing themselves out of reach of their market? With shrinking government support and dwindling endowments, colleges and universities have had to increase already exorbitant tuition rates, making them out of the question for millions of potential students.

Since a degree remains a requirement for many desirable jobs, students are coping by flocking to lower cost community colleges. Listen to an interesting discussion of the economic effects on higher education on NPR.

Higher educational institutions are being told that they must become more entrepreneurial (see related post From Stepchild to Cinderella on 2/6/09) below. The problem is that they don’t know how. The only options proposed on most campuses are to (1) raise tuition or (2) cut expenses.

Are traditional colleges headed the way of the music industry? Time will tell. Right now, however, significant opportunities exist for any schools who can offer accredited degrees for a lower cost. Community colleges are one option. Another is for students to take advantage of alternatives such as CLEP or DANTES tests, ACE-evaluated credits for military and corporate training and credit for prior learning.

For those who are completely fed up with the education system, innumerable opportunities for learning exist on the internet. I’ll cover each of these options in future posts.

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  1. I beat your record– 5 colleges, can’t remember how many majors, but two of ’em were Russian and Electrical Engineering, and 34 years to finally get my BA from what used to be the NY Board of Regents College– now Excelsior. Took the remaining credits by exam and by writing two major essays drawing on knowledge and experience acquired during 9 years in the Czech Republic.I think the answer is for our society to go back to treating education as essential ‘soft’ infrastructure and stop subjecting students to this insane debt spiral. Nearly 70 years ago, my parents attended UC Berkeley for free. A small scholarship paid most of my mother’s living expenses. Nearly 35 ago, government grants covered a fair portion of my tuition, and I came out of my various colleges — even private Northwestern, with quite modest debts. Now young people are often graduating with debts in the 6 figure range. And, with middle-class standards of living in decline, their ability to pay them off is increasingly problematic. As my mother, who went on to get a Ph.D. in economics, says, “It makes no difference in economic terms whether the older or the younger generation pays for education, but it makes a huge difference psychologically.”In the one case, a student comes out of college with a sense of having been given something valuable and of owing a civic obligation. In the other case he or she comes out with a sense of burden and resentment– and also the feeling of having had to ‘go it alone’ and owing nothing to anyone. In fact, their education was still probably heavily subsidized, but that is no longer the way it feels.

  2. Always happy to hear from another late bloomer. 🙂 I just learned about a really innovative, low-cost option for college students and I will be writing about it soon. Dixie

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